Well, it’s been quite a week in Gainesville.
Will Grier’s suspension. Steve Spurrier’s retirement. Deiondre Porter’s arrest.
The crazy news week has almost taken away from the huge game going down this weekend in Baton Rouge.
Fortunately for Florida, the incidents involving Grier and Porter shouldn’t take away from UF’s recruiting momentum.
Some of you asked if this would negatively impact prospects and/or their parents, and I don’t believe it will. Grier’s PED use was an isolated situation and not a team issue, and some might even feel sorry for him given the length of his suspension.
As sickening as Porter’s police report is, Jim McElwain and the Gators were very proactive in removing him from the team. McElwain is developing a reputation as a disciplinary and doesn’t tolerate his players committing crimes, especially the kind Porter and J.C. Jackson did.
Moreover, those two players weren’t his guys. As long as McElwain continues to lay down the law and this doesn’t become a pattern with the recruits he brings in, it won’t concern recruits and their families.
On to the questions!
Do you think Grier’s suspension will have an impact on the QB class? — @keithmarder, @mmajosh
It could have an impact, but probably not a positive one.
Had this not happened to Grier, Treon Harris was expected to transfer after this season. Now he’s the starting quarterback for at least the rest of the year and isn’t going anywhere.
If Grier’s year-long suspension doesn’t get reduced, it’s fair to say Harris will be the starter all of next season if he plays well. Should that happen, Harris and Grier would still be on the team in 2017.
That’s not an ideal situation for an elite 2016 quarterback, which is what the Gators are trying to land in this class in addition to Kyle Trask. Maybe Florida’s success on the field can offset and maybe even outweigh the undesirable depth for QB recruits.
The thing to remember is UF has Luke Del Rio on the roster. He’s more talented than your typical walk-on and impressed during summer workouts. If Florida is unable to land a second QB in this cycle, Del Rio will help withstand it.
Any shot with Dwayne Haskins since Randy Edsall is out, or is he Maryland’s as long as Mike Locksley is there?— @RngeRoverAlwood, @Bradwentworth0
Even with Edsall’s firing, Haskins still appears solid to the Terrapins. He’s posted several pro-Maryland tweets this week and still has his verbal commitment tweet pinned at the top of his Twitter page.
Offensive coordinator and interim coach Mike Locksley is the primary recruiter for Haskins and recruits the state of Maryland better than any college coach. If Locksley remains with the Terrapins, Haskins won’t waver.
Should Locksley not be retained by the new coach, perhaps that’ll open the door for UF to get Haskins on an official visit. But don’t get your hopes up if you’re a Florida fan.
If the Gators are able to flip a QB, it’ll likely be an in-state recruit.
Will Jordan Scarlett’s lack of playing time hurt their efforts with Miami WR commit Sam Bruce? — @DerekBrian27
Great question. Bruce attended the season opener and liked Florida’s offensive showing. He specially mentioned Scarlett’s touchdown and said he was satisfied with what he saw.
However, Scarlett has been a non-factor since SEC play began and is the No. 3 tailback behind Jordan Cronkrite. You’d think that has the potential to rub Bruce the wrong way, but McElwain has shown he’s willing to play true freshmen.
Antonio Callaway, CeCe Jefferson and Martez Ivey are among those who’ve seen the field this season, and you can bet Bruce sees that Callaway is starting. So Scarlett’s lack of snaps is on him, not McElwain.
Kelvin Taylor is also playing at a high level, and both Bruce and Scarlett should be able to recognize that. I’m sure Scarlett is somewhat unhappy with his playing time, but I doubt it’s bad enough for him to advise Bruce not to come.
A 6-0 start was unexpected. Is that enough to prove to recruits the ship is righted at UF? — @GatorsVino, @NardoFaSho
I’d say so. No one thought Florida would be this good in 2015, and recruits have certainly taken notice.
The Gators recently picked up some big commitments from McArthur Burnett and Freddie Swain, and they’re considered the team to beat for five-star recruits Nate Craig-Myers, Shavar Manuel and Mack Wilson.
To me, that’s indicative of the belief prospects now have in UF. That’s been missing since the Will Muschamp era starting going south.
Florida needs to continue winning and maintain control of the SEC East, but expectations have already been exceeded for a team that was picked to finish fifth in the division.
Outside of one or two linemen, every 2016 recruit the Gators land moving forward will be rated four-stars or better.
Would the Gators use a scholarship to recruit a reliable place-kicker? — Mike Wilkerson
Make that a couple linemen and a kicker as the potential three-star commits remaining for UF.
I don’t think Florida planned on using a scholarship for a 2016 kicker, but it might have to if Jorge Powell or Austin Hardin fail to show some consistency.
The Gators offered Eddy Pineiro back in June after he camped at UF. He’s rated a three-star recruit but is ranked the No. 1 junior college kicker in the country.
He’s currently committed to Alabama, but attended the Florida-Ole Miss and was blown away by The Swamp. Pineiro is also from Miami, so the distance factor could work in UF’s favor.
The early enrollee plans to return for an official visit this fall. Pineiro is probably the only kicker Florida would be willing to sign this year.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.